January 9, 2017
Lincoln, Neb. — Grant Suddarth, a sophomore agricultural economics major from York, took home a $4,000 grand prize in the fourth annual Engler Business Plan Competition, which was held in December at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum on East Campus of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Zachary Settje, a junior agribusiness major from Raymond, was the runner-up, earning $1,000. Both students are Engler Entrepreneurs carrying the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship minor.
The competition was completed in one day with three flights of presenters. Thirty-four entrants had 10 minutes to present their business plan in front of a two person panel of judges. The judges were allowed a five minute question and answer session with the presenter. The top two competitors from each flight moved on to the final round. Judges for the semi-final rounds were Craig Gana, Gana Trucking; Jared Knobbe, Waddell & Reed Financial Services and Engler alumnus; Rich Claussen, Prosper Lincoln; Carlos Estrada, founder of Unicornable; Austin Schweitzer, co-founder of Complete Nutrition; and Logan Peters, Big Iron and Engler alumnus.
Suddarth’s business plan outlined an agriculture software – AppraisAg – to simplify and expedite the appraisal process. Settje presented on the livestock product he developed called PolyBunks, which solves the problem facing cattle producers of portability and convenience in their feed bunks. Judges for the final round were Steve Tippery, president & CEO of Intellifarm and Fred Bruning, president of Bruning State Bank.
The Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program is a unique opportunity designed to empower enterprise builders. Approximately 100 students at the university are pursuing development of their entrepreneurial skills and capacity in the program. The Engler program began in 2010 with a $20 million gift over 10 years from the Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation. The purpose of the program is to identify students with the entrepreneurial drive and then foster development of professional skills conducive to success in applying entrepreneurism in agriculture and agribusiness. Visit engler.unl.edu for more information.Tom Field
Paul Engler Chair of Agribusiness Entrepreneurship
Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program